Cold Water Waders

ScottP

Active Member
#1
Going back and forth over what to replace the POS Simms Headwaters waders with; Made in USA (Upper South Armenia???), my ass (which is soaking wet, btw). Finances preclude any of the upper-end models but not interested in finding leaks next spring when fishing 38 degree tailwaters. I have an old pair of neoprenes that I’m pretty sure are water tight (who could tell?); may give them a go and look for a pair of breathables for the warmer months.

Regards,
Scott
 

Old Man

Just an Old Man
#4
I had a pair of neoprene waders, Red Ball I believe they were. 3mm. I wore them all over Washington. I wore them out. Had a lot of rips and holes in them. I finally retired them for some light weight waders. I needed a shoe horn to get into them. I was on the big side I didn't need a wading belt with them on. They fit like skin tight. I finally relented and broke down and got a pair of breathables. Been that way ever since.

I don't fish in the cold anymore and since I quit getting wet I don't need any, anymore.
 

gt

Active Member
#5
i find breathables warmer than neoprenes simply because they don't compress the fuzzies you wear underneath, that simple.
 

tackleman

Active Member
#6
For warmth in cold water or air temp I use bootfoot breathable waders. They're slightly more 'generous' in sizing, both body and foot, so there's lots of room for fleece and socks.
 
#8
On a recent trip to Nova Scotia I discovered I’d brought my 10 year old Patagonia waders instead of my newer Remington zip-fronts. After one day I got a leak in the crotch. A local fly shop had Hodgeman H3 for what equaled $125 and I bought them after my guide said he had 3 seasons on a pair. I was very pleased with them, foot fit is perfect. Available on the ‘net for $100-$125. The H5 are about $225. There is also an insulated liner available for about $70 that snaps in for cold weather but I am happy with using various weights of long johns.
 

Chromer J

Active Member
#9
In the Rockies I've had (insert quality brand and model here) waders last many, many years, but miles of bushwhacking in western Washington introduces the worst kinds of wader hazards i.e. blackberry vines, thorny clubfoot, etc. etc. Currently, no quality wader will live through those hazards. My general recommendation would be to develop an eye to avoid those hazards and buy a quality, properly fitted pair of breathables. They are more comfortable than neoprene if you are moving throughout the day, and in colder months you can choose to add insulative layers, yet enjoy their lighter weight in the summer. For insulation, I personally like the gen 2 level 2 waffle-grid fleece that's military issue and manufactured in the USA. It's negligibly different than the offerings from Patagonia or their equivalent with the exception of price. It's generally 1/2 -1/4 of the cost of the fancy brands. I've found that the seams in cheap breathables are generally inferior to the higher end models, and will not hold up to moderate/heavy use for more than a season or 2. Neoprene, yes, it has its specific advantages (standing in a frigid tailwater all day and not moving much, duck hunting, etc.) but for a one-pair-fits-all application, I advocate for a quality pair of breathables with a strong importance placed on the quality of fit specifically to your body. If they don't fit properly, they can be 1) less safe, 2) less comfortable, 3) have seam failure due to mechanical stresses that wouldn't occur if there's a proper fit. The exception where I'd advocate for neoprene is if you're exclusively using them in situations where you're not moving around much on foot throughout the day i.e. tube (kick boat) fishing in cold water, cold tailwaters, or floating cold water in cold weather (here neoprene could be a big plus for safety with its buoyancy). If that's the case, then, by all means, go with neoprene. If you want the flexibility to cover other uses, grab some quality breathables together with some insulative layers. Tight lines.
 
#11
I've always had a problem with my feet getting cold during the winter months. Stocking foot neoprenes and wading boots even with an extra pair of neoprene socks made it uncomfortable. The solution was insulated boot foot waders over the years. My last pair has been a pair of cabelas boots with thinsulate insulation. They usually go on sale before waterfowl season. Not as nice to walk long distances in as wadeing boots but they keep me in the water longer.
 

Brian Miller

Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout
#12
I've fished a Puget Sound beach in January when it was 19° F, and Lone Lake in my Watermaster when it was in the low 30s & snowing, both with light to moderate winds wearing my old but not forgotten green Hodgeman Guideweight neoprene waders over an expedition weight base layer, midweight wool socks, and fleece pants. Over the waders an old school Patagonia Pile jacket under a Gore Tex wading jacket, merino buff, under a wool ball cap, and a fleece Andes Inca cap over that. Except for the waders I was dressed like I would be for the summit on an early season Rainier climb and was warm enough that no gloves were needed either time.
 
Last edited:

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
#13
Breathable fabric stockingfoot waders. With warm heavyweight Polartec fleece pants. Below freezing temperatures I will wear polypropylene long underwear beneath the waders. Lightweight linersocks with medium weight Smartwool hiker socks. I have used this approach in direly bitter cold winter conditions. Breathability is a major factor in comfort. Layering is the key to this too.
 
#14
Breathable fabric stockingfoot waders. With warm heavyweight Polartec fleece pants. Below freezing temperatures I will wear polypropylene long underwear beneath the waders. Lightweight linersocks with medium weight Smartwool hiker socks. I have used this approach in direly bitter cold winter conditions. Breathability is a major factor in comfort. Layering is the key to this too.
I go with a similar combo in cold weather. I really like Vision Ikon breathable waders. They're about 1/2 of what Simms are, and, IMO, just as good. On some extremely cold days, I drop a "Hotshot" handwarmer in each boot (available at Costco, for around $12 for 40 pair)
 
#15
I agree with Steve S above about sending the waders back to Simms. A couple of years ago, I sent in a pair of 4 years old Freestone waders with seam leak in the crotch. For the price of postage from Canada, they sent me a new pair of waders within 4 days of receiving the waders. Very impressed with their service and quick turn around.
Ken
 

Latest posts